Take Down Adhamiyah Terrorists
(From left) Army Pvt. Sam Feldman, Army
Sgt. Eric Meinhardt and Army Spc. Martin Garza, paratroopers
with Battery B,
2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment,
prepare to raid the house of a suspected pimp and gun-runner
by Mike Pryor / DoD Photo
On the surface,
the market seems perfectly ordinary. Men outside the shops
gather to play
dominoes, smoke, and drink tea. On hot afternoons, an ice cream
stand does a brisk business. But in the dark back rooms of some
of the shops, murderous plans are hatched.
It’s called the Fish Market, a seemingly benign marketplace
in the Graya’at area of Baghdad’s Adhamiyah district.
But according to 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers responsible
for security in the area, it’s also the nexus for Adhamiyah’s
Since paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 319th
Airborne Field Artillery Regiment began conducting security
operations in Adhamiyah
two months ago, residents have consistently pointed them back
to the Fish Market as the source of much of the region’s
criminal activity. Over time, the paratroopers narrowed in on
a handful of individuals based at the market who they believed
were responsible for some of the worst crimes. They even gave
them a nickname: “The Fish Market Five.” Now
it’s the "Fish Market Three."
In simultaneous, early-morning raids Mar. 31, paratroopers from
Battery B, 2-319th AFAR captured two members of the Fish Market
Five and detained three other suspects for questioning.
One of the detainees was a suspected lieutenant in a murder,
torture and kidnapping cell. The other was allegedly one of the
leaders of a group responsible for sniper and bomb attacks on
U.S. forces. Three other suspects were also taken into custody
during the raids.
The raids took place within minutes of each other shortly after
one in the morning.1st Lt. Josh Rowan, of College Station, Texas,
whose platoon led the assault on one of the homes, said the point
of conducting the raids simultaneously was to catch the targets
“Our intent was to go out and capture these guys at the
same time, so that one guy didn’t have a chance to warn
the other guy,” Rowan said.
The kidnapper was taken into custody first, when paratroopers
shotgun-blasted his door open and hauled him out of bed in his
underwear. Two other unidentified males staying in the house
were also detained. In addition to kidnapping and murder, Rowan
said the target of the raid had a hand in numerous other criminal
activities, including pimping and gun-running.
“He’s like a renaissance man of terrorism,” said
A few blocks down the street from where Rowan’s platoon
was conducting their raid, 2nd Lt. Larry Pitts and his platoon
were about to hit the bomb-maker’s house. Emerging from
the cover of a palm grove thicket, they crept through the streets
until they found the house they were looking for.
Pitts quietly unlatched the front gate and they moved inside
the courtyard. When they were set, the breach man blew the front
door open with a shotgun blast and the assault squad rushed in.
The suspect went quietly, and it was all over in minutes.
As he was supervising the search of the kidnapper’s
house, Rowan got the call over his radio that the other platoon
got their man.
“Nice. Two for two,” he said.
The raids were the return on months of investigative work. It
took countless hours spent meetings with residents, cultivating
sources, and painstakingly piecing together information before
it finally paid off, said Sgt. Billy Davison, a team leader with
Battery B from Texarkana, Texas. But Davison said the final results
made it all worthwhile.
“It was all worth it in the end,” he